PittsburghMom

PittsburghMom is our original, featured blog by Heather Starr Fiedler.  Heather created PittsburghMom in March 2008 and began this journey.  Heather is the mom to two young boys, Matthew (9) and Benjamin (7), a college professor and General Manager of PittsburghMom. She's busy, but not too busy to blog about her sometimes serious, sometimes painful and often humorous thoughts on life and share her favorite Pittsburgh spots for families.

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RADical Days -20 Days of free local activities

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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Not very many people are familiar with the work of the Regional Asset District tax.  Each year residents and visitors pay a 1% County Sales tax that helps support things like parks, arts organizations, libraries, museums, sports facilities and public transit.  Each year, as a thank you to the taxpayers, those "Assets" are opened to the public for free on for 20 days as part of "RADical Days".

During RADical days, various Assets offer free admission, tours or classes.  Take advantage of RADical days this year and let your tax dollars give back to you!

The schedule of free days/events can be found on the RAD website or you can also get RADical Days alerts on your mobile device. Text RAD to 79797 to get RADical Days alerts – plus arts and culture updates throughout the year. There is no charge to receive RAD text message alerts; however, your standard message and data rates may apply.

Follow RADical Days on Facebook.  Download a two-page flyer with listings: color pdf or black/white pdf.

This week's RADical Days events include

Wednesday, September 24

PNC Park
Free Admission 10am-3pm (TOURS ONLY)
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of The Best Ballpark in America. Places you may visit are the Legacy Theatre, Batting Cages, Dugout, and Press Box. Tours take place on the hour from 10am-3pm with the last tour starting at 2pm; 60 guest maximum, on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations will be taken. Please enter at the Allegheny Health Network Gate on Federal Street, by the Willie Stargell Statue.
115 Federal Street (North Shore) • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Thursday, September 25

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – West End
Make + Do for 6th-12th grade students
Free admission: 6-7:30pm
Children in grades 6-12 are invited to come to the Library for a hands-on digital lab workshop.  Please register at (412) 921-1717 or carnegielibrary.org
47 Wabash Street (West End)

Silver Eye Center for Photography
Free admission: noon-6pm
Come see our exhibit Anima, on view through October 4, which showcases portraits of the draft horses that serve the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at Arlington National Cemetery.
1015 East Carson Street (South Side)

 

Friday, September 26

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust: 10th Anniversary Gallery Crawl
Free admission: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
Art. Music. Dance. Comedy. Film. Networking. Fun. FREE! Celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Gallery Crawl!  The free quarterly showcase of art and entertainment has taken place in the heart of the Cultural District for a decade. For this special anniversary Crawl, all events will take place at a variety of galleries and spaces and feature special programming and surprises.  Patrons may start at any location.
(Multiple locations in the Cultural District, Downtown Pittsburgh)

WYEP-fm Final Fridays Concert: Nox Boys and Saintseneca
On the last Friday September WYEP presents a free summer concert on the Schenley Plaza lawn, featuring local and national talent.  Bring your blanket and chairs - and enjoy music outdoors!
Schenley Plaza, 4100 Forbes Ave. (Oakland)

 

Saturday, September 27

Society for Contemporary Craft
Free Admission: 10am–5 pm
Discover the irresistible qualities of clay in Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics, an exhibition featuring the diverse and innovative work of 31 artists from around the country. Create your own masterpiece out of clay or explore food as humorous and unexpected subject matter in the Drop-In Studio.
2100 Smallman Street (Strip District)

Allegheny County Parks - Hartwood Acres Hay Day & Allegheny Green Festival
Free Admission: 11am-4pm
Kids of all ages can enjoy fun Fall activities like hay rides, pumpkin patch, arts & crafts,
petting zoo, bounce house, Halloween puppet show.  Plus, local green organizations will offer educational and interactive exhibits throughout the park.
200 Hartwood Acres (North Hills)

 

Sunday, September 28

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - World Kaleidoscope presents Pittsburgh Taiko
Free admission: 2pm
Pittsburgh Taiko performs regional Japanese drumming styles and is dedicated to bringing the art and spirit of Japanese taiko drumming to Pittsburgh.  The group strives to educate community members about both ensemble taiko drumming (kumidaiko) and Japanese culture.
4400 Forbes Ave. (Oakland)

Shaler North Hills Library Presents the Felicia Lynn Band
Free admission: 2-4pm
Felicia Lynn is a singer/songwriter from Pittsburgh who started writing music at an early age and has performed acoustic shows for several years. Now performing with her band, she is becoming one of the region’s top country-rock performers wiith music that catches your ear and melodies that stick in your head.
1822 Mt. Royal Blvd (Glenshaw)

 

 

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One pair

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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It's the change of the seasons. That means pumpkin spice lattes and snuggling up with a good book.  Movie night snuggles and corn mazes.  For us it also comes with some stress.

Stress because with the changing of the season comes the changing of the wardrobe.

I've talked before about Ben's clothing issues, in fact, that's one of the main reason we started seeing "Dr. Jen", our family counselor.  But while many behaviors have improved greatly, his sensitivity and pickiness about his clothes remain.

He tends to find something he likes, something that's comfortable, and wear it. A lot.

I buy several of the same thing, just so we don't have to have an argument every day over what he'll wear.

He has one pair of shoes that he likes to wear

One pair of socks (if I can even get him to wear socks. That's only if he absolutely HAS to)

One jacket

You get my drift.

So now that the seasons are changing, his favorite pair of shorts and flip flops isn't cutting it anymore.  I need to find him a new favorite pair of shoes. A  new favorite pair of pants.

We've done pretty well so far, with everything but the shoes.  He just does not like his little feet to be constricted. He's tried on dozens and dozens of shoes only to reject them all. So he still trudges off to school every day with pants, shirt, jacket and...flip flops.

We'll get there. Baby steps. Hopefully by the first snowfall. :) 

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Pittsburgh Area Fall Festivals & Pumpkin Patches 2014

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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NORTH


Reilly's Summer Seat Farm

1120 Roosevelt Road    
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
 (near Wexford) 

Reilly's Summer Seat Farm and Garden Center  is located in the Mount Nebo region of the North Hills in Ohio Township.

Mon-Fri: 9AM-6PM
Saturday: 9AM-6PM
Sunday: 10AM-6PM

On weekends, wagons depart for the pumpkin patch between 10 AM & 4 PM

Each year, Reilly's Summer Seat Farm & Garden Center offers festivals, tours, school field trips, and birthday parties that are entertaining for the entire family.  Within 15 minutes of downtown Pittsburgh, Reilly's offers residents of Allegheny County (and other surrounding areas in southwestern PA) an opportunity to experience the country and have some great festival fun.

Harvest Festival of Fun

Beginning September 27 & 28 and then every October Weekend - Reilly's Harvest Festival runs from 10 AM to 4 PM. Reilly's is open every weekend for a Harvest Festival of Fun! Hayrides to the great pumpkin patch where you'll find all sizes of pumpkins for your picking pleasure, the New Boo Barn with added excitement, the Cornstalk maze, Marshmallow roast, Balloon Typhoon, Pedal Go Carts, and much, much more.  A one-price a super Harvest Festival ticket includes activities. No reservations needed, just come and have fun!

The Garden Center has beautiful mums, asters, cornstalks, bales of hay, gourds, mini-pumpkins and Halloween decorations, as well as a beautiful array of fall plants and grasses – everything you need do prepare for the Autumn season. Pumpkins are sold by the pound from September to November.

  • Pumpkin Patch Hayrides
  • Pony Rides & Petting Zoo
  • Boo Barn
  • Face Painting
  • Cow Milking
  • Balloon Typhoon
  • Pedal Go Carts
  • Cornstalk Maze
  • Scarecrow-Making
  • Country Store
  • Wanda’s Games
  • Ducky Plucky
  • Caramel Apples
  • Refreshments
  • No reservations needed

The cost is $7/person

 


Renshaw Family Farms

314 Ford City Road Road    
Freeport, PA 16229
 

We invite you to our 4th Annual Pumpkin Fest every weekend in October.
11 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

Hayrides, pumpkin patch, corn maze, face painting, petting zoo, raised on the farm angus hotdogs and hamburgers plus lots more good food & drinks

 $7 per person (kids 3 and under are free) includes hayrides to pumpkin patch, corn maze and animal park.    

Duck pond, face painting, corn cannon and bounce house available at extra charge

 


Shenot Farm & Market

3754 Wexford Run Road
Wexford, PA  15090

Beginning  the last weekend in September and every weekend in October, plus Columbus Day, we offer hayrides to our pumpkin patch and corn maze.

It is a great way to spend an afternoon with your family, and it’s the perfect time to get your jack-o-lanterns, cornstalks, straw bales, decorative Indian corn–as well as our delicious sweet corn, apples, cider, and vegetables.  Of course don’t forget to stop at the fudge counter!

Our hayrides to the pumpkin patch and corn maze are from 11:00 A.M.to 5:00 P.M. Saturdays and Sundays.  Columbus Day hayrides are 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.

 


 

Soergel Orchards Family Farm

2573 Brandt School Road
Wexford, PA 15090

Fall Festival
Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm 
September 20 - October 26
Free Admission!

EAT
We’re a family farm and nothing says family like great food! Every weekend we have a great selection of food available in our Food Barn, Back 40 BBQ, Naturally’s Soergel’s Healthy Options, Sweet Saloon and traditional festival food from local vendors.  Check out the menus for each of the food venues and plan to eat with us! PLUS – Amish-made Donuts are available every Saturday starting at 8am and are only $1 each.


SHOP
Only half the fun is outside! Be sure to stop by the market, Home & Garden Center, Gift Barn, Amish Furniture and Naturally Soergel’s for special festival products and sales! Nothing says fall like fresh apples, baked goods featuring pumpkin and apple, and all the home and yard items to celebrate the season! 

PLAY
Come play all your favorite festival games and try some new ones too! We have games suited for children of all ages and some free activities as well!

Pumpkin Painting Face Painting Cornstalk Maze Hay Tunnel Duck Pond Duck Race Sluice Ring Toss Balloon Chase Bounce House Train Flippin' Fish Spin Art Cider Slugger Shootin' Gallery Pirate Ship play area* Haystack* Tiny Town play area* Farm Animals*

ENJOY (Tickets are $1 each)

Pick your own pumpkins 11-5 pm 

 Hayrides to the pumpkin patch 11-5 pm (2 Tickets)

 Pony rides 1-3 pm (3 Tickets)

Horse drawn wagon rides 2-4 pm (3 Tickets)

And much, much more!

Free samples and demonstrations

 


SOUTH


Bedners Greenhouse

315 Coleman Road
McDonald, PA 15057

(724) 926-2541

Art Under Glass Festival
Free admission
Every weekend in October
Saturdays 9-6
Sundays 9-5

Free play area, hay maze and fun games. Daily live music performances. Local crafts, photography, paintings and more.

Additional activities include:

  • Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch - includes a tractor-pulled Hayride, a challenging 3-acre Corn Maze, one bucket full of mini pumpkins for the most popular Pumpkin Launch, and a Petting Zoo.     $7 (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch, PLUS pick-your-own Pumpkin    $12
  • Extra bucket of mini pumpkins for the Pumpkin Launch     $3       2 for $5
  • Pumpkin Painting - includes a pumpkin, plus plenty of paint, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, feathers, and other items to create your own masterpiece!     $5
  • Face Painting     $3 and up





Springhouse Market

1531 Route 136
Washington, PA 15301

(724) 228-3339

Friday 5-7 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m .

Great Pumpkin Weekends beginning September 26 and continuing every weekend in October

  • Spidey Sling
    Corn Crib Box
    Pumpkin Patch Hayrides
    Corn Maze
    Giant Hay Bales
    Pumpkin Land
    Hillside Slide
    Petting Zoo

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins

 All activities on the hill plus a pumpkin - $10/person
Just activities and hayride (no pumpkin) - $7/person


 

Trax Farms

528 Trax Road
Finleyville, PA 15332 (12 miles south of Pittsburgh on Route 88)

Monday-Saturday: 9 am - 8 pm
Sunday: 9 am - 6 pm

45th Annual Fall Festival
Every Weekend Sept 20 - Oct 26, 10am - 5pm
Free Admission

Family Fun, Great Food, Live Music and Tons of Games! 
Our annual Fall Festival on our 148-year-old farm, is a tradition for many families in the South Hills and greater Pittsburgh area. There’s something for everyone from grandparents to grandkids. Enjoy a hayride to our pumpkin patch to pick-your-own pumpkin or see if you can find your way through our giant, 4-acre corn maze!

 

Activities - Tickets can be purchased with cash only
No ATM - cash back available up to $50 with purchase at registers

Petting Zoo - Free, pay for food
Rainbow Express Train  $3
Trax Challenge
Corn Bin $2
Bounce House $2
Balloon Chase $2
Giant Slide $2
Bungee Jumper $6
Rock Wall $6
Land Balls $6
Hayrides - includes 4 acre Corn Maze & PYO Pumpkins! Adults $8 Children $6
Spin Art $2

 


  

Irons Mill Farmstead

252 Greenfield Road
New Wilmington, PA 16142
Phone: 724.992.9343

Besides a heap of pumpkins to pick from and 10 aMAZEing acres of cornfield to get lost in, Irons Mill Farmstead offers fields of farm fresh fun for the whole family!  Start with a Hayride around the farm.  Save some energy for Pumpkin Slingshots and our Punchin’ Pumpkins game! - See more at: http://ironsmillfarmstead.com/farm-adventures/#sthash.S1UIPHSa.dpuf

Jumpin’ Jackdaws!
Kids’ eyes will light up with excitement at the first look at this enormous pillow made for jumping on!  Kids and adults will never forget this jumping experience — it will become a new fall tradition!

Hayslide Hill!
Our barn is filled with hay bales arranged into a maze design with none other than a giant super slide at one end!  If the kids have not bounced off their energy on Jumpin’ Jackdaws, they will surely do so running and crawling through this amazing hay mountain!  The mountain is under roof and well lit so it can be enjoyed from opening to closing!

Rubber Duck Races!
Children and adults alike will have a ball at the Duck Races!  They are one of the most popular attractions at Iron’s Mill Farmstead!  Happy [water] pumping!

Corncob Beach!
What could be more fun than a giant box of corn to play in!  Kids of all ages will have a blast rolling and playing in this corny box of fun!  It is sure to be one of the main attractions at Iron’s Mill Farmstead.  Benches are handy for parents to watch the kids laugh with delight.

Cackleberry Bounce!
Simply fun!  Children of all ages can hop and bounce on giant balls of different sizes.  You will hear them giggle and laugh as they hop-hop-hop around the corral!

Pumpkin Slingshots!
Test your skills at the pumpkin slingshots!  Targets of all sorts will be waiting for you to fling pumpkins at them!

Climb Mount Arthur!
What kid doesn’t love to climb?  Climbing Mt. Arthur isn’t just climbing any old mountain, it’s a mountain of none other than: tractor tires!!! Now, that’s good old-fashioned farm fun!

Pony Express!
Sundays in October, some very special visitors will be at the farm … Ponies!  Saddle up and enjoy an unforgettable, fall pony ride!

 

 

 


Triple B Farms

823 Berry Lane
Monongahela, PA  15063

15 miles South of Pittsburgh off of Route 51

Our pumpkin festival starts the last weekend of September and runs every weekend through Halloween from 10-6. Come join us for all your favorite fall haunts, such as Storybook Pumpkinland (more than 200 pumpkin-headed characters), hayrides to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch, the Big Blue Boo Barn (a mildly scary haunted barn), 2 giant tube slides, corn maze, Barnyard Carnival, and more. Special events are scheduled every weekend, too, including a magician, a mad scientist and others

PICK YOUR OWN Apples Every Weekend 10 am - 4 pm

Festival Hours
Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 

 

Prices for Farm in 2012 were: $11.00 per child….$7.00 per adult  Children 2 & under FREE. 2014 Prices have not been listed on website yet

WRISTBAND includes:    BOO BARN    PUMPKINLAND    ROPE MAZE HAYRIDE  FUNNY FARM & PETTING ZOO GIANT SLIDES – 2 slides BARNYARD CARNIVAL & OBSTACLES  MINI-CORNMAZE FARM FLINGER DUCK DERBY & Slide   If families PREFER to pick and choose FARM activities, they may purchase  each individual activity Wed-Fri from 4-7pm. $2.50 per activity per person.  Last wristbands sold at 6pm weekdays.

 

 


Simmons Farm

170 Simmons Farm, McMurray, PA 15317

M-F: 9am - 6:45pm
Weekends: 9am- 5:45pm

Fall Festival Beginning September 20 

Fall Activities Include: 

-Besides the over five acres of pumpkins, Simmons Farm offers multiple field activities for children and adults. 

A Field Pass (price below) includes access to the following: 
- Five acres of pumpkins
- Free apple
- Hay maze and 4 acre corn maze and 2 acre corn maze
- Corn play bin
- 100ft slide and smaller Fire Truck slide!
- Farm animal petting zoo


Weekend Extra Activities Include: 
- Food Concessions  
- Pumpkin Carving Display  
- Butterfly House 
- Pony Rides
- Pumpkin Typhoon
- Apple Sling Shot
- Music by Fiddlin' Mike and the Fiddlin' Around Band!
-Apple Picking click here for details
(weekend activity availability due to weather may vary call ahead)

Fall Activities plus Hayride: $10.50
Price includes all field activities (listed above),  and hayride to the field (no pumpkin).

Pumpkin/Fall Activities and Hayride: $13.50
This price includes all fall activities a hayride and a pumpkin.
Also includes picking of ear Indian corn from the field (while supplies last)  

 


 

EAST


Schramms Farms

1002 Blank Rd. 
Jeannette, PA 15644
   

Store Hours:
Monday - Friday 9am - 7pm
Saturday 9am - 6pm
Sunday 10am - 6pm

Schramm's Fall Fest & Pick-your-Own Pumpkins

As the air starts to feel chilly and the leaves turn colorful, the annual Fall Fest begins at Schramm Farms. Starting September 28th and running thru the end of October, we fill the fields with a huge selection of pumpkins for your choosing. To add to the autumn atmosphere we decorate with scarecrows and other festive displays. There is something for the whole family to enjoy.

For the kids (and kids at heart) we have play hay, and a corn stalk maze free of charge. For a few dollars we offer pony rides and hay rides around the pumpkin patch.

Also, there is a wide selection of refreshments, including Hot dogs, snow cones, cotton candy, apple cider slush, and candy and caramel apples. Not to mention farm fresh steamed vegetables, and French Fries made our own potatoes.

In the market customers can enjoy the seasonal favorites. We always have a good supply of pasteurized apple cider (made with our own apples) and huge selection of our homegrown apple varieties which include; Jonathan, Macintosh, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Northern Spy, Empire, and Royal Gala.

To assist with your fall decorations we have cornstalks and straw for sale, as well as gourds and Indian corn.

So as the summer starts to fade and the fall season arrives, make Schramm Farms part of your yearly autumn tradition. Stop by to pick your Halloween Pumpkin, buy bushel of apples, or just have a fun filled afternoon.

 


 

 

WEST

 


Hozak Farms

 

488 Anderson-Hozak Rd.  Clinton, PA 15026
724-899-2400     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fall Festival
Weekends September 27-October 26 + Columbus Day

10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  No Admission Fee
 
Pony Rides(not available Columbus Day)
Pumpkin Picking
Pumpkin Painting
Face Painting
Refreshments
Musical Entertainment
Fall Decorations
Hayrides to the pumpkin patch (2-6 p.m.)
Scenic Hayrides through the woods.

 


  

Janoski's Farm and Greenhouse

1714 State Route 30
Clinton, PA

Open September 27 & 28 and every weekend in October to the public

10a.m.-5p.m.

Admission $6.00 per person

*Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch
*Petting Zoo
*Straw Jump
*Face Painting
*Pumpkin Painting
*Corn Maze
*Haunted Barn
*Pony Rides (for Children)
*Pedal Bike Path
and much more..

Concession stand Opened as well as the use of the picnic area.

Come join us and celebrate the fall season during our annual Pumpkinland. Enjoy with your family our Haunted Barn, Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, Straw Jump, Pedal Bike Path, Pony Rides (for Children Only) Petting Zoo, Pumpkin Painting, face painting and much more. There are picnic tables and pavilions. Feel free to pack a lunch or visit our food booth. During this time our Farm Market, Gift Shop, Bakery, and Garden Center are open. Be sure to stop in and see our friendly staff and enjoy the bountiful fall harvest!

 


 

 

 


 View Pittsburgh Area Fall Festivals and Pumpkin Patches in a larger map


Map Courtesy of Catherine Tsavalas from the Point Park News Service
 

 

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Taking a sick day

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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My whole family is sick with a cold this week. This morning as we were getting ready for school and work my boys were grumbling about having to go to school and tried to use to "But I'm sick" excuse to stay home.  It caused me to examine my philosophy on "sick days". It might sound cold, but I have a pretty tough approach to handling illness and injury. Basically my motto is that we don't stay home unless we're contagious with something bad (Strep,Flu, etc).

Typically speaking I know my kids well enough to know whether they really need rest or if or need to go to the doctor.  In the absence of those things they go to school, or to practice, or to church or whatever other commitment they may have. If they don't have a fever, they go.

Part of me feels guilty but the other part of me feels like this is a good life lesson. I have the same cold they do right now and yet I am dragging myself out of bed every day and going to work, teaching class and holding meetings. We all get through it.

Certainly there are days when we just truly do need to rest and need to take a sick day (and admittedly we had one of those this weekend, none of us could get out of bed and we slept nearly all day). Of course then I would allow them to stay home. 

I can absolutely trace this back to my upbringing. My mother was a nurse and she knew whether we were really sick or not. Usually her answer was "You're not dying, go to school" or "It's not broken, go to school". I didn't miss a whole lot of days of school, I can tell you that :-)

So where do you fall on the keep them home versus make them go scale? Would you keep them home for allergies, for example? A sprained ankle? A common cold?  Or do you have a play it by ear philosophy?

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Like ripping off a band aid

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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I have to apologize for my silence this week.

Back to school is kicking my butt.

I believe in sucking every last drop out of summer.  I've said it before, and I still firmly stand by it, but it sure does hurt.

There are two schools of thought on back to school preparation. Some people start prepping for the inevitable weeks before the big day. They get their shopping done, clothes and supplies carefully labeled and laid out. They move bedtime back minutes early each day and practice getting up early.  They're ready. They're prepped.

Us? Not so much.

We come screeching into the first day of school like a runner into home plate. It's like ripping off the band aid in one swift pull.

We don't have any bedtime rules until the night school starts.  We don't start waking up early until the very morning the big yellow bus comes buzzing up the hill. I'm lucky that we get backpacks packed the night before the first day. My children typically wear clothes they already have in their closets.  We make it, but it hurts.

I'm quite thankful that our district starts mid-week so we only have a few days before a nice long weekend. We need those three days of rest to get our act together and get in the right frame of mind.

We're just not quite ready to let go of summer yet. Give me a few more days.

 

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